Are there a lot of carbs in hot and sour soup?

Quick Answer

Hot and sour soup typically contains around 10-20 grams of carbs per serving, depending on the specific ingredients used. The main sources of carbs in hot and sour soup are noodles, vegetables like mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrots, and cabbage, and thickening agents like cornstarch or arrowroot powder. Some protein ingredients like tofu and eggs also contribute a small amount of carbs. Overall, hot and sour soup would be considered a medium-carb food.

Ingredients That Add Carbs to Hot and Sour Soup

Here are some of the main ingredients that contribute carbs to hot and sour soup:


Many hot and sour soup recipes call for noodles, which add a significant amount of carbs. A 1 cup serving of basic wheat noodles contains around 40-50 grams of carbs. Thinner rice noodles have slightly fewer carbs at around 30-35 grams per cup. Going noodle-free can reduce the carb count of hot and sour soup considerably.


Hot and sour soup typically contains a medley of vegetables like mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrots, cabbage, celery, etc. These vegetables contain natural sugars and starches that equate to around 5-10 grams of carbs per cup when cooked. Going heavy on the veggies can add up in terms of carbs.

Thickening Agents

Ingredients like cornstarch and arrowroot powder are used to thicken the broth in hot and sour soup. Around 1-2 teaspoons worth could add 5-10 grams of starchy carbs to the entire pot. Some recipes use tapioca starch or potato starch instead.


If using firm or silken tofu, it will contribute around 2-3 grams of carbs per 3-4 oz serving. This isn’t a huge amount, but worth being aware of.


Eggs contain around 0.5 grams of carbs each when used as a protein topping for the soup. A few eggs could add 1-2 grams of carbs total.

Wood Ear Mushrooms

These dried black mushrooms need to be reconstituted in water before using. Once hydrated and cooked, a 1 cup serving contains around 15-20 grams of carbs mainly from fiber and polysaccharides.

Miscellaneous Ingredients

Small amounts of sugars or carbs could also come from other ingredients like rice vinegar, sesame oil, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, chile peppers, etc. But these are usually negligible, less than 1 gram per tablespoon.

Low Carb Hot and Sour Soup Options

Here are some tips for making hot and sour soup lower in carbs:

Skip the Noodles

Going noodle-free is one of the easiest ways to reduce carbs in hot and sour soup. Replace noodles with more vegetables, mushrooms, shredded chicken, or extra tofu instead.

Use Fewer Starchy Thickeners

Limit the amount of cornstarch, arrowroot, or other starches used to thicken the broth. 1 teaspoon or less may suffice depending on the recipe.

Increase Non-Starchy Vegetables

Focus on vegetables that are lower in carbs like cabbage, celery, bean sprouts, spinach, bok choy, etc. Use moderation with higher carb veggies like carrots and mushrooms.

Swap Wood Ear Mushrooms

Try shiitake mushrooms instead, which only have around 3 grams of carbs per cup when cooked. Or skip mushrooms altogether.

Use Coconut Milk

Some recipes use coconut milk instead of cornstarch to naturally thicken and add body to the broth. Canned coconut milk has around 5 grams of carbs per 1/2 cup.

Garnish with Cilantro

Cilantro adds freshness but minimal carbs. Other low carb garnish options include sliced scallions, sesame seeds, chili oil, and lime wedges.

How Many Carbs Are Typically in Hot and Sour Soup?

The amount of carbs in hot and sour soup can vary considerably based on the specific ingredients used in the recipe.

Here are some estimates for the carb counts in a typical bowl of hot and sour soup:

– With noodles: 25-40 grams of carbs
– Without noodles: 10-20 grams of carbs
– Vegetarian hot and sour soup: 15-25 grams of carbs
– Chicken or seafood hot and sour soup: 10-15 grams of carbs

A serving of hot and sour soup that contains around 10-15 grams of net carbs would be considered low carb. Getting under 10 grams of net carbs per serving would make it keto-friendly.

To determine the net carbs, you need to subtract the grams of dietary fiber from the total carbs, since fiber does not impact blood sugar.

Tips for Balancing Hot and Sour Soup into a Low Carb Diet

Here are some tips for enjoying hot and sour soup as part of a low carb or keto diet:

Watch Portion Sizes

Stick to 1 cup servings or less to keep carb counts under control. Avoid going back for second or third helpings.

Pair with Low Carb Sides

Help dilute the carbs in the soup by pairing it with low carb sides like cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, or a fresh veggie salad.

Skip the Rice or Bread

Resist the urge to ladle the soup over rice or dip bread in it, both of which can double the carb counts.

Save for an Occasional Treat

Have hot and sour soup only occasionally if you’re strictly limiting carbs, rather than multiple times per week.

Make it Yourself

You can better control the carb count by making homemade hot and sour soup and leaving out noodles or other high carb ingredients.

Request Carb Modifications When Eating Out

Ask for no noodles, extra veggies, and broth on the side when ordering hot and sour soup at a restaurant.

Nutrition Facts for Hot and Sour Soup

The nutrition information for hot and sour soup will vary depending on which ingredients are used, but here is an approximate breakdown for a 1 cup serving:

With noodles:

Calories 150
Total Fat 4g
Carbohydrates 25g
Protein 7g

Without noodles:

Calories 80
Total Fat 3g
Carbohydrates 10g
Protein 5g

As you can see, skipping the noodles cuts the carbs in half. Focusing on lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables will result in a soup that is lower in carbs and calories while still packing great flavor.


Hot and sour soup can certainly fit into a low carb diet when made with care. Opting for noodle-free versions with plenty of vegetables and mushrooms results in a flavorful soup with around 10-15 grams of net carbs per serving. Stick to reasonable portion sizes and balance it out with low carb sides and other meals. With a few simple substitutions, hot and sour soup can be enjoyed guilt-free, even for those limiting their carb intake. The spicy, savory broth pairs perfectly with fresh greens, chicken, shrimp, or tofu. For an occasional treat, a small bowl of hot and sour soup can add variety without derailing ketosis or low carb weight loss goals.

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